Friday, October 31, 2003


Mister Puck Scarborough Ferguson, 1997-2003
The Best Cat Ever

Mr. Puck, my beloved brilliant white cat, died Thursday mid-morning 10/30/2003.
He was struck by a car while reportedly trying to nap in the middle of Austin Avenue.

Despite rough beginnings, Mr. Puck overcame many traumas that would sour the disposition of lesser kitties. Mr. Puck and his siblings were abandoned in a suburban neighborhood off I-24 in the fall of 1997, where they were found wandering around by my sisters, Sara and Abigail, who called me and asked me to find them homes. We placed the other kittens with neighbors, but two of the litter - Mr. Puck and his sister, Titania, stayed with me. At the time I also had another kitten, Brigid.

Our happy home was not to last for long though; personal tragedy struck and I lost our apartment. Brigid was adopted by Ron and Dinan Spears, where she lived for another year before also losing her life to a speeding motorist. Titania was adopted by Andrew Anderson and Tony Gowell. Mr. Puck stayed with my sisters for the next six months while I tried to pull my life together. It wasn't easy for either of us.

In the fall, I snuck him into the MTSU dorms for a few months before we were busted. This was a happy time for Mr. Puck, who was young and enjoyed taking walks in the Peck Woods on a leash. There he would chase squirrels and be admired by other students. Many cats don't enjoy the figure-8 harness and leash, but Puck was an exceptional cat.

In the following years Puck and I would sometimes be parted for months at a stretch as I pursued my education - once I went to Spain for five weeks, another time he had to stay a semester each with Ryan Miller and then the Curboy family. He never held this against me, but instead always was happy to see me and curl against my stomach at night in the winter, or against my ankles in the summer. For years before we moved to Atlanta, Mr. Puck was better than any alarm clock; he got fed at 7 am and 7 pm, and in this way always woke me up. Being woken up by your cat is one of the best ways to wake up. Even once we moved and he got an automatic feeder, I loved to wake up and just spend a few quiet minutes with him before I got out of bed.

Puck's fur was closer to rabbit fur in texture than most cat's, and a bright white in color. He shared this fur with everyone ungrudingly, and was considered to be the most prolific shedder anyone had ever met. Many cats were envious of his shedding prowess.

Mr. Puck had been very ill earlier this year. He contracted heart worms from a mosquito bite, rare for a cat and often deadly. His vet gave him only a 50-50 chance of survival. I braced myself for the worst, but this did not happen. Although I would spend many sleepless nights during his illness listening to him struggle for air, and comforting him, Puck made it through with flying colors. He had a weight problem in the past, but after a year of regular exercise in houses with stairs - and overcoming a life-threatening illness - he had dropped his excess flab. The last thing I thought as I saw him Thursday morning was how healthy and beautiful he looked. His winter coat was coming in, tinted with white so bright it looked like silver. His eyes were large and clear green. Many people often commented on how beautiful a cat Mr. Puck was.

Mr. Puck is survived by his sister Titania, who had recently come to live with us again after an absence of 5 and a half years. Puck's current kitty lover, Tex, attended the burial.

A memorial has been built over his resting place. There's a circle of 6 fist-sized lumps of rose quarts, one for each year of his life. At the top of the circle is a small headstone. When I placed him in his cardboard coffin, I wrote on the outside in silver paint pen: Mr. Puck was the best cat ever. Mr. Puck was the best cat ever. Mr. Puck was the best cat ever. Over and over on each side. Because it was true.

Come spring, I'll make a big patch of catnip in that part of the garden. I think he would have liked that.

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